As retailers seek out solutions that provide visibility throughout the demand chain, they are relying on the expertise of technology partners.
Deena M. Amato-McCoy, senior editor of Chain Store Age, spoke with Kim Macaulay, VP global marketing and product management, Avery Dennison Retail Information Services, Information and Brand Management Division, who revealed how a recent acquisition is enabling the company to drive value for its customers as they look to Avery Dennison’s expertise and labeling technologies to increase responsiveness within their demand chains.
Chain Store Age: How has the RFID landscape changed the way retailers look at demand-chain visibility?
Kim Macaulay: Today, RFID comes up in every conversation. In terms of scale and item-level applications, European companies have put a lot of their attention here and done well. Marks & Spencer, for example, has a successful item-level program. However, the U.S. marketplace has not embraced RFID to the depth that Marks & Spencer and other European companies have, and that is disappointing.
CSA: What is the state of the industry when it comes to RFID projects?
Macaulay: Retailers want to be educated [about RFID], and they want to talk about it. They are curious about what it can do for their business and they want to learn which applications are right for them.
A few retailers are doing small-scale pilots to test out their hypotheses, but the big change for us is that technology vendors and partners, including our company, have taken on the role of educator and consultant. Over the last three years, that has prompted us to dedicate more resources to promoting RFID.
CSA: Adding new services often generates opportunities for more partnerships. What other trends are fueling acquisitions?
Macaulay: All companies, including retailers, brand owners and suppliers, are trying to compete in a global marketplace and competition is clearly increasing. Many companies are consolidating to gain market share and penetration in new geographies. Companies that are teaming up often have complementary strengths. The same is true between our customer base and suppliers.
Consolidation is also fueled by consumer behavior. Today, consumers have tremendous choices whe